Protection of fragile ecology of mountainous region important, says ICIMOD official
The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region caters to the water needs of three billion people living in eight countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan -- but what are these people doing to protect the fragile ecology of this mountainous region. This is the big question being raised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an international organisation which is working for the protection of the region and the livelihood of all who live there.
ICIMOD Geospatial Solutions theme leader M.S.R.Murthy, who did his schooling in Montessori and college in Andhra Loyola College, is currently based in ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Talking to The Hindu when he came home for a holiday, he said that the idea of creating an institution to promote the ecologically sound development of the mountainous regions was first discussed at the International Workshop on the development of mountain environment held at Munich in 1974. But concrete commitments were made to establish the centre at the UNESCO meeting held at Kathmandu under its Man and Biosphere Programme in 1979.
Mr. Murthy is a Ph.D in botany who worked with the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) specialising in forest resources assessment and monitoring biodiversity, forest carbon modelling, climate change adaptation and mitigation studies using remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques. He was also given the National Space Gold Medal by the Astronautical Society of India and Young Scientist Award by the Indian Science Congress Association.
He said, USAID, NASA and ICIMOD had joined hands for mapping and inventorying needed in various development interventions with the help of earth observation applications and (GIS) tools to overcome the constraints of characterising the remote landscape and vastly varying spatial characteristics which influenced social and ecological aspects of sustainable mountain development. It was even planning to use Unmanned Ariel Vehicles for precision. ICIMOD focuses on improving the understanding of the complex hydrological processes of the HKH region and promoting data and information sharing, , Mr Murthy said.